Just like the song itself, Ariana Grande’s “Yes, And?” music video is a direct message to her critics. But instead of aggressively clapping back, she invites them to join in on the fun with some delicious choreography.
Directed by Christian Breslauer, the visuals open with a group of critics arriving to a private performance by Grande for “AG7,” her highly anticipated seventh album. The group is shown gossiping among themselves, repeating real-life criticisms of the singer’s personal life in the past year: “Who cares if she’s happy? I don’t want happy, I want Ari.” “I read it on the internet, so it must be true.”
They enter a studio filled with stone statues of Grande and her dancers. When the music starts playing, the statues crumble to the ground and the real-life versions emerge. Grande enters with a newsboy hat covering her eyes (the drama!), which she throws off. Then, the dancing begins. We can thank choreographer Will Loftis and assistant choreographer Chelsea Thedinga for those moves.
The critics slowly shed their judgmental looks and start enjoying the show, grooving along with Grande. In the end, a few get up and join her. When the song ends, the performers turn back into stone and the critics exit in excitement and the next group comes in.
If you were expecting Grande to ruthlessly shut down her haters, you won’t find that in this video. The song speaks for itself with lines like: “Now I’m so done with caring / What you think, no I won’t hide / Underneath your own projections,” “Don’t comment on my body, do not reply,” and “Why do you care so much whose…I ride.”
Grande takes the time to explain herself and spread joy to those who need it. “And if you find yourself in a dark situation just / Turn on your light,” she sings in one line. It’s not all about the anger and frustration of being “deeply misunderstood.” It’s also about moving on from the pain with a shrug and an invite to the dance floor.
It’s like she’s telling us: You can talk all you want, but in the end, I’ll still you over with my music.
She’s done it before, hasn’t she? Watch the full “Yes, And?” video above.
Erica Gonzales is the Senior Culture Editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage on TV, movies, music, books, and more. She was previously an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There is a 75 percent chance she’s listening to Lorde right now.